Just back from a week on the Pacific Dawn, 4 of us in a quad cabin, parents and teens aged 13 and 15. We have cruised 3 times before, including the Royal Princess.
I am not usually one to make the effort to write reviews as I tend to feel they can be very biased and unfair to judge on one experience - good or bad. However, the negative reviews I have read on this and other sites that nearly put me off booking this trip and need addressing.
The Quality of the Food, service and accommodation were of a standard well in excess of the price paid. The surroundings and entertainment were wonderful. The circus show in the Atrium was of a standard I would happily pay for ( even when watching it made me shut my eyes and wish it was over in case the girl spinning fell down ). Anybody who does not appreciate the fact that P & O can only provide so much for the low price, and the extras are user pays, is just not adding things up in their heads properly. We went out in a cheap Mexican restaurant in Brisbane the day before and it cost AUD$100 for horrible food on plastic plates. Marriott Hotel @ AUD$350, I honestly think that some people are living in the past, prices of ingredients have gone up yet the prices of this cruise have gone down. All the cost cutting measures the reviews moan about are just common sense to keep the price affordable.
It was a fantastic week and I can honestly say anyone considering this holiday option should not be put off by the reviews that pick on silly niggles. They are always easy to find if you look for them. So why look??.
Teen club was really great, girls were entertained and monitored by the youth staff, to a high level that meant they had more freedom than they could ever have at home. They felt grown up and trusted and have both learnt a lot from dining in either family table, or groups of friends in the dining room. The waiters treated a table of 13 year olds with the same service as the adults and the kids all responded well to that. No-one bothered to even lunch in the Buffet after seeing the Waterfront option. I can honestly say if we had not made the effort to spend some of the time with them, we would have only seen them to sleep.
Entertainment was fun and well done, Entertainment Director Zoltina-J was very polished, professional and amusing, James Bustar was extremely funny, show team well worth watching - its not West End but then its free and optional. Later shows are always less busy, but all well worth attending.
Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and well practised, all as described and no hassles.
I think P & O Pacific Dawn offers a holiday that exceeded all our expectations and I can only say - give it a go - all the extra spending is optional, most of the things on offer are good or equal value to shops at home. Photos are good quality and if you want a portrait its 5% of the cost of the professional one we had done earlier this year.
Add up a hotel rate each day, entertainment and 3 four course meals a day for each person - it soon adds up! Value for money, this is a family holiday the kids will remember for a long time.